DraftKings NASCAR: Bojangles' Southern 500

DraftKings NASCAR: Bojangles' Southern 500

This article is part of our NASCAR DFS series.

Bojangles' Southern 500

Location: Darlington, S.C.
Course: Darlington Raceway
Format: 1.36-mile oval
Laps: 367

Race Preview

Kyle Larson finally snagged his first Sprint Cup win last weekend at Michigan. The victory could not have come at a better time for the young driver as he had been bumped from contention for the Chase for the Sprint Cup by Chris Buescher's move into the top 30 in points the week prior at Bristol. Larson's win means just three Chase spots remain for drivers that haven't won a race in 2016. The bubble is currently occupied by Jamie McMurray who holds a 15-point advantage over Ryan Newman. Just two races remain to claim that championship entry, and one of the most storied and challenging tracks on the schedule awaits the teams in Darlington this week.

Key Stats at Darlington Raceway

Number of previous races: 112
Winners from pole: 20
Winners from top-5 starters: 70
Winners from top-10 starters: 96
Winners from 21st or lower starters: 6
Fastest race: 141.383 mph

Last 10 Darlington Winners

2015 - Carl Edwards
2014 - Kevin Harvick
2013 - Matt Kenseth
2012 - Jimmie Johnson
2011- Regan Smith
2010 - Denny Hamlin
2009 - Mark Martin
2008 - Kyle Busch
2007 - Jeff Gordon
2006 - Greg Biffle

Darlington Raceway is often known by its nickname, "The Lady in Black," due to the tendency of cars to run as close to the wall as possible, often scraping the barriers and leaving black tire marks behind. Drivers will expect to leave the race with a "Darlington stripe" on the sides of their cars as a badge of honor for the close and hard racing the circuit demands. The oval's oblong shape means the corners at opposite ends of the track require different handling and lines. There's significant and abrupt distinction between the lanes in each turn as the banking changes, which can make passing difficult. Exit speed from the turns and the ability to out-drag the competition down the straights will be a driver's best opportunity to pass, but hooking the car through the tight turns can also set up passes on corner exit. The Sunday-night affair can be one of the most exciting races of the season and often takes a special talent to claim victory.

DRAFTKINGS VALUE PICKS
(Based on Standard $50K Salary Cap)

DraftKings Tier 1 Values

Kevin Harvick - $10,600
Kyle Busch - $10,400
Brad Keselowski - $10,200

DraftKings Tier 2 Values

Martin Truex Jr. - $9,800
Denny Hamlin - $9,600
Jimmie Johnson - $9,300
Kyle Larson - $9,100

DraftKings Tier 3 Values

Kurt Busch - $8,800
Jeff Gordon - $8,700
Ryan Newman - $8,000
Tony Stewart - $7,800

DraftKings Long-Shot Values

Greg Biffle - $7,200
A.J. Allmendinger - $6,800
Chris Buescher - $6,600
Regan Smith - $5,300

MY PICKS THIS WEEK

Lower-Risk Lineup ($50K Salary Cap)

Kevin Harvick - $10,600
Kyle Busch - $10,400
Tony Stewart - $7,800
Kasey Kahne - $7,500
Greg Biffle - $7,200
Regan Smith - $5,300

Harvick now has four top-10 finishes in the last five races and is picking up steam as the Chase approaches. He won at Darlington in 2014 and finished fifth after leading 44 laps at the track last season. Kyle Busch will be looking to put the last two races behind him, and with four top-10s in his last four Darlington visits that should be a likely outcome on Sunday. While Stewart has never won at the historic circuit, he does have an average finish of 12th in 23 career starts. He hasn't finished outside of the top 15 there in the last five tries, either. Darlington is one of Kahne's better tracks. He showed speed in Michigan last week but likely needs a win to qualify for the Chase. He has also led laps in four of the last five Darlington races. An 11th-place finish in Michigan last week came from virtually nothing for Biffle. He has two Darlington victories to his name and finished fifth in 2014 when the team was struggling more than it is now. The 2011 Southern 500 winner Smith rounds out the lower-risk lineup option. He finished inside the top 20 at the track in three of the last four races and should be a respectable choice for rosters this week.

Higher-Risk Lineup
($50K Salary Cap)

Brad Keselowski - $10,200
Denny Hamlin - $9,600
Jimmie Johnson - $9,300
Kyle Larson - $9,100
A.J. Allmendinger - $6,800
Josh Wise - $4,600

The higher-risk lineup model for Darlington boasts fewer wins than the lower-risk option, but still packs plenty of punch. Keselowski has been one of the best racers in recent weeks, and with three top-three finishes in the last four races he could be ready to score his first Southern 500 win after coming home runner-up last year. Hamlin has also turned up the wick as the Chase has gotten closer. He won at Darlington in 2010, finished third there last year and has six consecutive top-10s heading into this week's race. Last week's speed at Michigan could be a sign of Johnson's ship finally righting itself. He has three career wins at this track, but finished 19th there last season. The newest Sprint Cup series winner Larson has a spot in the Chase and is now working to get ready for those playoffs. He hasn't finished lower than 10th in his two prior Sprint Cup visits to the track. While Allmendinger often shows competitive pace in a session or two, he has yet to put together top race finishes on a regular basis. He has eight career starts at Darlington, and a competitive race this weekend would give him his first top-10 at the track and his sixth of the season. Wise rounds off the higher-risk option due to his ability to finish higher than where he starts. He does have two DNFs at Darlington, but moved from 29th to 21st during the race in 2014.

The author(s) of this article may play in daily fantasy contests including – but not limited to – games that they have provided recommendations or advice on in this article. In the course of playing in these games using their personal accounts, it's possible that they will use players in their lineups or other strategies that differ from the recommendations they have provided above. The recommendations in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of RotoWire. C.J. Radune plays in daily fantasy contests using the following accounts: DraftKings: cjradune, RaceDayScore: cjradune.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
C.J. Radune
Radune covers NASCAR, Formula 1 and soccer for RotoWire. He was named the Racing Writer of the Year by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association in 2012 and 2015.
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